Members of the University of Chester’s Running Club are fundraising for charities close to their hearts, as they train hard to take part in the Chester Half Marathon on May 21.

Alannah Bolton, who is 20 and studying geography, is president of the running club.

She set up the club last year and said: “For months I was running on the treadmill every day at the university gym, before taking to the streets in March for a race. I had caught the bug, but to make sure I carried on running when I got back after the summer. I knew I needed to find like-minded people to give me the motivation. I wanted a sport to take part in that wasn’t competitive.”

The running club now has 80 members who meet between three and five times a week.

Everyone is welcome, from beginners to those with more experience.

Members have been training for the Chester Half Marathon since December by taking part in runs, twice a week.

They have also attended training sessions hosted by the Chester Half Marathon organisers.

Some members are raising money for charities such as Pancreatic Cancer UK and Rethink, a mental health support charity.

Alannah is raising money for a charity that provides advice, information and support to families and professionals affected by metabolic diseases.

She said: “I will be raising money for Climb, a charity that has helped many children and families affected by conditions like the one I have, MCADD (medium- chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency). MCADD, like many other inherited metabolic disorders, is rare and not enough people know about it. By raising money for Climb, I hope to raise awareness about these conditions.”

MCADD is a rare genetic condition where a person has problems breaking down fat to use as an energy source.

This means that someone with MCADD can become very ill if their body’s energy demands exceed their energy intake.

Sunny Sheard, the club’s vice president for 2017/18, is raising money for the charity Mind, which supports people struggling with mental health.

She said: “This will be my second half marathon, which is also part of my marathon training for October. By the end of the year I am hoping to have raised £1,500 for Mind. The fact I’m running it with so many lovely people from the running club will surely make it easier to keep on going. I can’t wait!”

Current vice president of the running club Kate Green added: “At this point, I’ve never run more than 10 miles, so I’m actually really excited about hitting the milestone of a half marathon! I can’t wait for the actual race day to come now.”

Alannah said: “I am immensely proud of all the running club members who have signed up to the Chester Half Marathon. The majority of the members have never completed the distance of 13.1 miles before, including myself.

“I am also proud to know that in some small way, I have helped people come a long way (literally) in reaching their running potential in such a short amount of time. Hopefully their achievements will be an inspiration to other students and encourage them to get involved with the running club.”

Chester Students’ Union vice president of activities Ethan Wade said: “We are extremely proud of our running club, which has been very active this year with weekly sessions, charity engagement and has recruited 80 members in the society’s first year! Their passion is infectious and constantly reflected by their smiling ‘selfies’ on each run. We wish them the best of luck and can’t wait to cheer them on for such a great cause.”

The running club also takes part in the Park Run – a global initiative that encourages people to start running.

The club meets every Saturday morning at local parks.

Members of the running club taking part in the Chester Half Marathon are: Alannah Bolton; Kate Green; Bethan Farrant; Jacob Hutchinson; Luke Jackson; Ameel Al Gamri; Kate Swift; Joy Roberts Chapple; Imogen Stubbs; Sunny Sheard; Katherine Jane Harris and Rhodri Evans.

You can sponsor Alannah Bolton, Kate Swift and Sunny Sheard here: